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History of Mardi Gras
Hotel Chateau Laurier
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Mardi Gras Around The World [VIDEO]

Did you think Mardi Gras was strictly a New Orleans thing? Think again.

In Belgium Mardi Gras is the most important day of the year. Belgians celebrate the Carnival of Binche in the city of Binche, which features lots of music and dancing.

Sweden celebrates Fettisdagen, translating to "Fat Tuesday."

In Canada Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the country, especially in the french-speaking Quebec, where the Quebec Winter Carnival is one of the most iconic of Canadian festivals.

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Mardi Gras
Flickr User DoctorWho
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Know Your Mardi Gras History [VIDEO]

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," a reference to the binge eating a lot of Catholics do before Lent. As is often the case with holidays, the Christian roots are intertwined with earlier pagan practices. It was very common for early church fathers to integrate elements of pagan ritual in an attempt to attract potential converts.

Mardi Gras itself originated in the Middle Ages and was brought to the U.S. by the French explorer Iberville. In 1827, Parisian-style masked balls were legalized in New Orleans after a long period of prohibition. The celebration soon became known for its celebrants' raucous behavior during fanciful parades.

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Oscar Winners
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
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The King’s Speech Wins Big At Oscars

There weren't a whole lot of surprises at the 83rd Academy Awards -- as expected, "The King's Speech" took the big prize as Best Picture. The film about King George VI overcoming his stutter also garnered a Best Actor statue for Colin Firth and a Best Director win for Tom Hooper.

"King"'s four statuettes tied "Inception," which also nabbed four awards in technical categories, for the most Oscars.

Oscar favorite Natalie Portman also took home the Best Actress statuette for her role in "Black Swan," and Melissa Leo and Christian Bale of "The Fighter" cleaned up in the supporting role categories.

See the full list of winners after the jump:

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The Oscars' 'Inception'-Style Opening Sequence
ABC
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The Oscars’ ‘Inception’-Style Opening Sequence [VIDEO]

This year's opening sequence of the Academy Awards featured hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway trying to tap Alec Baldwin's dreams for Oscar hosting advice.

The skit featured a bunch of this year's nominees for best picture, and a surprise appearance from an iconic film of yore.  Read on to check it out.

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